“Look at me. I can run faster,” the little girl said as she ran across the room Saturday inside the Yukon Public School’s administration building.
She had just been given a brand new pair of athletic shoes. She was one of more than 70 children who received shoes that were purchased by the Church of the Nazarene through donations.
The church hosts an event each year to give children new shoes before the start of school.
The children are chosen based on financial need.
Carolyn Terrel, who was in charge of this year’s event, said more than 200 children had signed up for the give-away.
“We have fundraisers, and some are donated by individuals,” she said.
Either way, the administration building’s conference room was bustling with people trying on new shoes.
Terrel said they only buy shoes that are on sale to give away, and they buy throughout the year.
They also provide shoes throughout the year should a child need a new pair and the family can’t afford to make the purchase.
They are all athletic shoes – either laces or Velcro. They are shoes the kids can use for virtually anything, including physical education classes.
“We want them to have something that is all theirs,” she said.
Recipients are recommended by school counselors and come from Yukon, Mustang and the pre-K and kindergarten classes at Council Grove Elementary.
This year’s event was sponsored by the church, but also had assistance from the Yukon Rotary Club and podiatrist Dr. John Ditmars, who made sure the children were fitted correctly.
Meanwhile, more than 400 children took part in a backpack giveaway at Trinity Baptist Church.
Associated Pastor Scott Kinney said 460 children were served during a 3-hour period.
Kinney said the event was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., but started early because more than 100 families were lined up outside their doors at 8:30.
“That’s an amazing amount of kids. It’s the most we’ve had,” he said.
The previous high amount was about 325. The giveaways have been going on for the past 10 years.
Kinney said three years ago, only about 88 children participated.
This year, the church turned to social media, a sign outside their building and more than 5,000 door hangers to get the word out.
He said they gave out supplies to 460 kids, including hundreds of backpacks.
“We focused on the elementary and middle school kids,” he said. Next year, older students also will get backpacks.
They almost ran out of backpacks this year. Fortunately, Walgreens came to the rescue, providing backpacks at a substantial discount.
Everything was purchased or provided through donations.
“We give our members a list of supplies that we are going to give out,” he said.
This year that list included things like pencils, paper, Crayolas andmarkers.
Kinney said the help is needed.
“We’ve gone through some hard times. People are just in need. There is a great need for school supplies,” he said. “There is great need.”
As it turned out, everyone who visited, received school supplies. There were 11 backpacks left over.
“I have five kids. Supplies are expensive,” said Sharon Armstrong, as she was leaving Trinity on Saturday.
She said this type of program helps her family.
“We appreciate this,” she said.
Meanwhile, the First United Methodist Church in Yukon held a backpack event for foster families in Canadian County. Officials said more than 60 foster families participated in the giveaway.
They also were given a backpack filled with items like paper, pencils and markers, officials said.
Other giveaways are planned in the coming days.
The Canadian County Democrats will host a giveaway on Saturday in El Reno.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. at the Lord’s Harvest food bank, 1020 Sunset Drive.
It is the 11th year for the event and is focused on elementary school students.
Officials say it will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Good Fight Church, 500 E. Main St., will host a school supply event on Aug. 13 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Officials with the church have said they hope to provide 363 backpacks this year.